Friday, November 11, 2011

Tasted at Radici: Azienda Agricola Taurino

I was introduced to Taurino in the course of a presentation during a trip organized by Radici a couple of years ago, and was quite impressed. There were a number of winemakers there that evening, so the folks from Taurino just brought two wines, but still.This year they brought everything to the Radici tasting at Masseria Le Fabbriche, and when I finished tasting, I would have been quite happy to linger at the table sipping and chatting.

Azienda Agricola Taurino I Sierri Salento IGT Bianco 2010

This is Chardonnay fermented in steel; it's gold with brassy reflections and has a fairly rich bouquet with some tropical fruit supported by lemony accents and some vegetal notes; the impression is deft and lively. On the palate it's bright, with lively citric fruit supported by minerality and warm mineral acidity that flows into a very mineral finish with some lemony acidity. A pleasantly deft, eminently drinkable wine that will work well as an aperitif or with fish. Expect it to go quickly.
2 stars

Azienda Agricola Taurino Scaloti Salento Rosato 2010

This wine spent 5 hours on the skins before being racked off; it's a pretty pale pink with brilliant reflections and white rim. The bouquet reveals raspberry fruit and some berry fruit acidity; quite fresh. On the palate it's fresh and delicate, with pleasant wild strawberry and raspberry fruit supported by bright raspberry acidity and some minerality, and flows into a clean bright fairly mineral finish. Quite pleasant, especially on the palate, and will work well with lighter dishes, picnic foods, and also lighter risotti.
2 stars

Azienda Agricola Taurino Salice Salentino DOP Riserva 2008

This is primarily Negroamaro with a little Malvasia Nera, and is deep black almandine with almandine rim and black reflections. The bouquet is fresh, with balsamic berry fruit supported by warmth and minerality, displaying nice depth, elegance and freshness. On the palate it's full and rich with powerful balsam-laced berry fruit supported by smooth sweet balsamic tannins and fair warmth, coupled with spice, and flows into a long balsam-laced finish. Pleasant and will work well with succulent roasts, especially richer dishes that beg something to clear the palate between bites.
2 stars

Azienda Agricola Taurino Notarpanaro Salento IGP Rosso 2004

This is a vineyard wine from a very rocky vineyard that yields fresher wines. It's deep black almandine with black reflections, and has a fairly intense bouquet with warm berry fruit laced with balsam and greenish vegetal -- almost grassy -- accents and some sea salt. Def in a key that manages to be both warm and brooding. On the palate it's full, fresh, and quite smooth, with powerful cherry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity and by tannins that are quite smooth and languid, and flow into a clean bright finish. Graceful, and will drink very well with red meats off the grill or roasted now, and will laos age well for another 5-8 years at least.

Azienda Agricola Taurino 7° Ceppo Salento IGP

This is a Primitivo, made with grapes bought in Sava; it's bottled as a Salento because the new rules governing Manduria are stricter about where the wine can be made. It's lively ruby with bright reflections and some almandine in the rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with berry fruit supported by balsamic notes and spice, and some leaf tobacco and green leather. Nice depth, and as it opens pleasing savory sweet accents also emerge. On the palate it's full and rich with fairly intense plum fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that have a slight sandalwood burr and by considerable warmth that flow into a long pleasant finish. There's quite a bit of alcohol, which presents as warmth on the palate and a cool sensation on the lips, but it's quite well integrated, and the wine is approachable and will work very well with hearty foods, especially stews that have some sweeter components.

Azienda Agricola Taurino A64 Salento IGT Rosso 2004

This a blend of 85% Negroamaro and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and spent a year in barriques, followed by several months in steel, and was released in 2009. Deep almandine with almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with berry fruit and some balsamic notes mingled with cedar and slight vegetal accents, with slight sweetness that is from the ripeness of the grapes. On the palate it's full, with bright sour berry fruit supported by considerable warmth and dusky cedar laced tannins that flow into a long warm berry fruit finish. It's quite elegant, and approachable, but somehow lacks (for me) the excitement of the Notarpanaro -- the Cabernet contributes, doing so very well, but adds a degree of, shall we say, international uniformity, adding elements that someone not used to Negroamaro might recognize and appreciate. But I find it less distinctive.
2 stars

Azienda Agricola Taurino Patriglione Salento IGT Rosso 2006

This is a Negroamaro from 40-50 year-old vines whose grapes are left to dry until October before harvesting; it's made only in the best vintages, and the last vintage prior to this was the 03. Impenetrable ruby. The bouquet is powerful, with spicy fruit and some jammy accents mingled with cedar, licorice root and mace, with warmth and somf graphite too. A great lot going on, and terrific depth. On the palate it's full, and rich, with powerful sour berry fruit supported by greenish grassy accents and bright acidity, while the tannins are smooth and sweet, with a slight vegetal underpinning, and flow into a very long warm sour berry fruit finish. Impressive depth and elegance; it's a wine one could swish and sniff for hours, discovering facet after facet (cedar, sandalwood, leather, black pepper…). The acidity is pronounced enough that you won't want to meditate over it unless you're a great fan of acidity: rather, it's a fine food wine for a meal built around a substantial cut of meat, say roast leg of lamb or a crown roast.

Azienda Agricola Taurino Le Ricordanze Salento Passito IGT 2007

This is a blend of Riesling and Semillon harvested in August. Brilliant gold with lemony gold reflections. The bouquet is intense, with sweetness, some petroleum, honey, dried fruit, and underlying petroleum-laced minerality. Nice depth. On the palate it's full and sweet, with deft loquat and lemon fruit supported by slight hazelnut bitterness and some acidity, while savory notes emerge to accompany the sweetness in the finish. Interesting, and will work well with cheeses or on its own, and unlike some passiti is not cloying.
2 stars

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